The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 17, 2013

Olympic Development Program Water Polo East/West Regional Championships: Making a splash

Spire playing a part in planting seeds of growth for sport

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — A desire to spread the love of water polo to the entire country is one of the big reasons Spire Institute was able to host the Olympic Development Program Water Polo East/West Regional Championships this weekend.

“Part of our mission is to grow the sport,” Jennifer Rottenberg, chief marketing officer for USA Water Polo, said. She said finding new areas to showcase the sport is essential to its development.

It didn’t hurt that Ashley Papenbrock, Olympic Development Events Manager, is from Ohio.

“I am originally from Columbus and I wanted to bring an event to Ohio and I did,” she said with a laugh.

Rottenberg said there are almost 40,000 registered water polo players throughout the United States,  with 30,000 of them — 75 percent, residing in California.

California has its own developmental championships and the rest of the country are broken up into six zones and gather for regional competition where coaches can watch for talent and the girls can learn more skills, Rottenberg said.

Splash Ball has been developed to try and get 5- to 9-year-old children involved in the sport.

“It is kind of tee-ball,” she said of the relaxed rules and ability to sit on a flotation device.

The final destination for many of these young athletes is the selective national and Olympic teams.

In addition to the need for strength, endurance and size water polo players need to be mentally alert as well.

“You have to see what is happening,” Paperback said.

Many of the participants from Florida and the Southwest got an added bonus for their trip to Northeast Ohio. They were able to experience snow.

“The kids loved the snow,” Jim Boss, director of Acquatics for Spire Institute, said. “The parents; probably not so much.”

While the athletes are honing their skills, future officials are refining their craft, as well, Anne Laurence, Olympic Development Program manager, said. She said officials are watched by senior officials so they can learn from their mistakes.

Coaches are also looking to pick athletes to make a total of 70 girls to participate in a four-day training camp in Southern California in May, Woman Olympic Development Program National Technical Director Kim Everist said.

“There are a number of categories that we are evaluating,” she said.

She said physical attributes, attitude, mental acquity, technical skills and tactical skills are all taken into consideration.

“We engage in a lot of discussion with their coaches,” Everist said.

The final step is a four-day training camp where 28 athletes, in each age group, are tutored and fine-tuned.

The same procedure then starts over as the athlete moves to the next grade, Everist said.

Two teams will be picked for International competition, with one 19-and-under team heading to Greece for the World Junior Nationals and a mixed 17-and-under team heading to Argentina.

Madison Berggren, 16, of Salem, Oregon, said she started playing water polo three years ago when a friend asked her to join the team.

She doesn’t play any other sports now that she has fallen in love with the sport.

“I just do this all the time. I love it,” Berggren said. “I love how centered around team it is.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    BASEBALL
    NAC
    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    FRIDAY, APRIL 18
    Baseball

    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Softball
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Tennis
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    THURSDAY, APRIL 17
    Baseball
    Grand Valley at Maplewood (4:30)
    St. John at Lawrence (4:30)
    Mathews at PV (4:30)
    Fairport at Perry (7:30)
    West Geauga at Madison (4:30)
    Harvey at Riverside (4:30)
    Jefferson at Harding (5)

    April 16, 2014

  • Olivia In transition

    Pymatuning Valley graduate Olivia Holt had a distinct reason she chose to play basketball for Mount Union.
    “They do have tradition,” Holt, the daughter of Gus and Michelle Holt, said. “I’m from PV. We had a tradition of winning and working hard there. I wanted to go somewhere that tradition mattered. I knew I was going to get better by coming here.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Spring has sprung one big leak

    Paying a Wednesday morning visit to the variety store...

    Think spring?
    If this, um, err, uh... spring... feels a bit unusual for high school baseball and softball teams in Northeast Ohio, it is, to a point.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video